Science culture

I've been reading quite a bit lately about Universities setting up virtual classrooms in Second Life, so when Bertalan Meskó from ScienceRoll invited me to come give a poster, I decided it was time to take the plunge. Besides, I'm going to be teaching an on-line bioinformatics course this spring for Austin Community College, so this seemed like a good time to find out what the fuss is all about. Tomorrow, Bora Zivkovic (A Blog Around ... Read more
What's the connection?

(image from Newton TAB blog)

i-1ddce1105470b9bed37568a773a1d912-godzilla.jpg I have to admit, I don't know. But, I do know where you can find out. Dr. Gerard Cangelosi, from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, will be speaking about tuberculosis, godzilla, and XDR-TB, Monday night, 7 pm at the ... Read more
Drug Monkey has an interesting take on an article that I wrote the other day about publishing in biology. I find it amusing that in some fields it's the most important to be first author and in others, it's the most important to be the last author, and sometimes we publish papers together in the same journals, and the people who read the article - gasp - probably never know! Drug ... Read more
Last week I found a bug in the new NCBI BLAST interface. Of course, I reported it to the NCBI help desk so it will probably get fixed sometime soon. But it occurred to me, especially after seeing people joke about whether computer science is really a science or not, that it might surprise people to learn how much of the scientific method goes into testing software and doing digital biology.


What happens when the scientific method ... Read more
Is the case for open access truly "open and shut"? Will open access impede science by limiting genetic studies with families?


Microsoft's brave new world The April ALPSP conference began with songs for the open access choir. Microsoft's Lee Dirks painted visions of a utopian future where everything will be open, labs shall be judged by the worthiness of their databases, and even scientists will learn to share. According to Dirks, "Open ... Read more
One of my favorite books, "The Phantom Tollbooth," by Norton Juster, has a wonderful description of the penalties for making decisions without carefully evaluating the facts. Whenever the characters in the book arrive at a decision too quickly, they end up, literally, "jumping to Conclusions," an island far off the shore. The penalty for quick blog posts isn't so high. And, I'm pretty certain that no blogger has been stranded on a distant island for writing something without having all the facts. Still, it seems that the story of the offered "An Inconvenient Truth" DVDs, wasn't as ... Read more
I touched a nerve in another post by mentioning molecular biology kits. Let's face it. Cloning kits, sequencing kits, and their relatives are the laboratory equivalent of frozen cookie dough. With frozen cookie dough, anyone can bake hot, steamy, chocolate chip cookies that taste great. You don't have to read a recipe, do any math, or figure out how to "cream" butter and sugar together. Just spoon the dough on the pan, put the pan in the oven, and 10 short minutes later: ummm, cookies. Lab work and cooking have much in common. At one time, only a few people were ... Read more
Reposted from the original Digitalbio. About a decade ago, I took a fascinating summer course at the UW on bioethics. We read about the Nuremburg trials and the Geneva conventions. We learned about horizon problems and eugenics. And we discussed lots of challenging scenarios with genetic testing, autonomy, family relationships, and the problems faced by people seeking to have children, trying to get insurance, or looking for a job. So naturally, when I started a biotechnology course for non-science majors (Biotechnology and Society) at our community college, I used many of those ... Read more
When does a little artistic license go a little too far? i-b1e041868f26a9b705c4fa3f58d6a63f-jellyfish_green.jpgWe don't always expect the truth in science journalism imagery. We've all seen the newspaper pictures of the famous scientist wearing a lab coat and gazing intently at a gel, looking through a microscope, or contemplating an agar plate streaked with lovely ... Read more
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there's a land that's fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars all are empty and the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees and the cigarete trees,
The lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
Big Rock Candy Mountain by Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock (Warning: this site plays the music) To some inhabitants of the ivory tower, industry looks like ... Read more

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